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Bioassessment and Biocriteria Program Status for U.S. Virgin Islands: Streams and Wadeable Rivers

State Program Contact

Department of Planning and Natural Resources Exit

Water Quality Standards

WQS Information
The link to U.S. Virgin Islands' WQS that are in effect for Clean Water Act purposes is provided. These are the WQS approved by EPA.
The territory of U.S. Virgin Islands provided information and links to sections of their administrative code on designated aquatic life use, biological criteria, antidegradation as well as technical support documents and information on its bioassessment and biocriteria programs. These are included for your convenience and may or may not reflect the most recently EPA approved WQS. The following links exit the site Exit

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Designated Aquatic Life Uses
Classes A, B, and C.

Biological Criteria
__X__ Narrative, with quantitative implementation procedures or translators
_____ Numeric
_____ No criteria

186-1. (b) Biocriteria:
The Territory shall preserve, protect, and restore water resources to their most natural condition. The condition of these waterbodies shall be determined from measures of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of each waterbody class, according to its designated use. As a component of these measures, the Territory may consider the biological integrity of the benthic communities living within waters. These communities shall be assessed by comparison to reference conditions(s) with similar abiotic and biotic environmental settings that represent the optimal or least disturbed condition for that system. Such reference conditions shall be those observed to support the greatest community diversity, and abundance of aquatic life as is expected to be or has been historically found in natural settings essentially undisturbed or minimally disturbed by human impacts, development, or discharges. This condition shall be determined by consistent sampling and reliable measures of selected indicator communities of flora and/or fauna and may be used in conjunction with other measures of water quality. Waters shall be of a sufficient quality to support a resident biological community as defined by metrics based upon reference conditions. These narrative biological criteria shall apply to fresh water, wetlands, estuarine, mangrove, seagrass, coral reef and other marine ecosystems based upon their respective reference conditions and metrics.

Antidegradation Policy
Use of biocriteria or bioassessment not included in antidegradation policy

Biological Assessment

What biological assemblages are used in the bioassessment program?
Benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and coral reef

Are bioassessments used to support 303(d) listings?

How are assemblages used to make impairment decisions?
Not applicable.

Other uses of biocriteria or bioassessment within the water quality program:
Not applicable.

Technical Support Information and Documents:

Reference condition:
Described in section 186-1 (b) biocriteria in water quality standards.

Development of biocriteria involves the collection and interpretation of biological data –e.g. benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and periphyton. During this process entities typically use biological metrics (usually aggregated into a multimetric index) and/or multivariate analysis to assess whether a waterbody is meeting its designated aquatic life use(s). The reference materials included below include standard operation procedures used in data collection, compilation, technical approaches used to develop biocriteria as well as its implementation procedures.

Technical reference material:
Bradley P, Fore L, Fisher W, and Davis W. 2010. Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Narragansett, RI. EPA 600-R-10-054 July 2010.

Stressor identification/causal analysis approach:
Not applicable.

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